Despite some controversy, Samuel Alito has been sworn in as the newest Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Conservatives hail the confirmation as a victory; liberals fear it will sway the Supreme Court to the political right. Saint Louis University Law Professor Eric Claeys, who clerked for the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, believes we could see another vacancy before the end of the Bush Presidency. And, he believes the next vacancy could be the most important in years because it could see a conservative replacing a liberal. That, he says, would firmly establish the High Court as one with a conservative tilt. Claeys says the 58-42 vote for Alito is a signal that Democrats have the 41 votes needed to sustain a filibuster in the future.
Archives for January 2006
Governor Matt Blunt has gotten what he wanted to fund his initiative to pay for $300-Million in college campus improvements, establish a $100-Million scholarship fund, and create $20-Million in endowed professorships. Blunt thanks members of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority board for approving the sale of nearly half its assets to raise the necessary money. The MOHELA board has unanimously approved the sale of $2.4-Billion in consolidation loans, now expected to generate $450-Million. Blunt says MOHELA can make the sale and continue as a leader in servicing low-interest college student loans. As much as $210-Million might be available by the end of September.
The board of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority – MOHELA – has endorsed a plan to enter into a public-private partnership that would provide $450-Million for capital improvement projects, new scholarships, and endowed professorships at universities throughout the state. As part of this proposal, MOHELA intends to put select assets up for sale on the open market. The initiative would see $300-Million spent for capital improvement projects, $100-Million for student scholarships, $30-Million to enhance growth and development of technology businesses near college campuses, and $20-Million for endowed professorships. Governor Matt Blunt says the new funding will provide state institutions the money they need to hold back any significant tuition increases.
Tax time is here and the State Revenue Department has come up with a new way to track the status of your return. The Department has a new Interactive Voice Response system known as TRAC – for Track your Return Automatically via a Call. The Department’s Maura Browning says this tracking system allows taxpayers to learn the status of their returns – whether a return was received and/or whether it has been processed. Browning says that while just about anyone can find something useful with TRAC, there are primarily two kinds of taxpayers who get the most out of the system: those awaiting returns and those who just want to make sure their returns have been received. Information through TRAC can be obtained by calling 573-526-TAXX or by logging onto www.dor.mo.gov.
Related web sites:
Missouri Department of Revenue
On a day when the St. Louis Blues were seemingly made much worse than they were just the day before, the team came away with an impressive win over a formidable opponent. On Sunday the Blues traded away their top goal-scorer, Mike Sillinger to the Nashville Predators. Then on Monday, center Doug Weight, who led the team in scoring, was sent to Carolina. Weight had 44 points (11 goals, 33 assists) and Sillinger had 41 (22 goals, 19 assists).
For Weight, the Blues got forwards Jesse Boulerice, Magnus Kahnberg and Mike Zigomanis along with a first round draft choice in 2006, a fourth round draft choice in 2006 (originally from Toronto – which could turn into a third round) and another fourth round draft choice in 2007 (originally from Chicago) from Carolina. Zigomanis has played in 21 NHL games this season and Boulerice has played in 26. Boulerice currently plays in a Sweedish league and is unsigned.
The Blues also sent forward Erkki Rajamaki to the Hurricanes. Weight will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He waived no-trade clause to go to the Hurricanes, which have the best record in the NHL.
The moves were unexpected and, perhaps, lit a spark under the players Weight and Sillinger left behind. The Blues responded with a 3-2 overtime shootout win over the Calgary Flames.
After a scoreless first period, the Flames quickly took a 2-0 lead in the second. Daymond Langkow got Calgary on the board with a goal at the 1:20 mark of the period. Three minutes and 20 seconds later, Marcus Nilson made it 2-0 with a power-play goal.
But on a day when talented veterans were shipped away, it was time for two rookies to prove their worth. Jay McClement scored his third goal of the season at the 7:43 mark to cut the Flames lead to 2-1. Then at the 16:47 mark, fellow rookie Lee Stempniak found the back of the net to tie it up.
The two teams failed to score in the third period and overtime, so a shootout was necessary to decide the game. McClement scored in the first shootout to give the Blues a 1-0 lead in the tie-breaker. With it tied 1-1 in the fourth shootout, Matthew Lombardi of the Flames and Dennis Wideman of the Blues both scored to make it 2-2. In the fifth round, Stempniak scored after Chuck Kobasew’s miss to give the Blues the victory.
In regulation and overtime Sanford made 29 saves on 31 shots on goal.
Quinton Day lit up the scoreboard with 26 points for UMKC, but it wasn’t enough for the ‘Roos, who lost to Oral Roberts 74-56. While Day’s point total was impressive, his overall shooting wasn’t that much better than the rest of the teams’, as UMKC’s winning streak stopped at four games.
Day was 8-of-26 from the field, which translated to a 30 percent shooting performance. UMKC, as a team, made 29.4 percent of its shots. Other than Day, no one scored more than eight points for UMKC.
In the first half, UMKC made just 8-of-34 shots and trailed 28-19 at half time. In the second half, Oral Roberts steadily added their lead and were up by as many as 22 points.
Perhaps the most glaring disparity in the game came on the glass, where Oral Roberts out-rebounded UMKC 50-29. Larry Owens and Mickey Michalec had 13 and 11 rebounds, respectively. Caleb Green led ORU in scoring with 15.
The ‘Roos dropped to 9-11 on the season and 6-4 in the Mid-Continent Conference, while ORU improved to 12-9 and 7-2.
Southeast Missouri State’s losing streak extended to six games with a 72-63 loss to Austin Peay on Monday in Clarksville, Tennessee.
SEMO was led in scoring by Roy Booker who had 22 points, while Maurice Hampton had 20 for Austin Peay. Zac Schlader added 19 for APU.
Eric Jones’ tip-in with 14:41 to go in the first half gave SEMO a 10-8 lead. It proved to be their final advantage of the game. Austin Peay responded with a 27-9 run to end the half and led 35-19.
In the second half, Austin Peay built the lead to as high as 23 points when Schlader’s lay up with 14:25 in the game made 48-25.
Despite the huge deficit, the Redhawks were able to cut the lead to five points, when Terrick Willoughby hit a three pointer to make it 65-60 with 25 seconds to go. But they scored just two points the rest of the way, Austin Peay went 8-for-8 from the free throw line the rest of the way to seal the game.
SEMO improved to 6-14 on the season and 3-11 in the Ohio Valley Conference, while APU improved to 12-10 and 7-6.
A property rights group has asked the Secretary of State to let it circulate two petitions prohibiting the use of eminent domain for private development, and taking of private property for eradication of “blight.” The Missouri Citizens for Property Rights hopes both proposals can go on the November ballot. Several proposals are in the Legislature this year, but petition drive leaders say they can’t wait for the Legislature to decide what it will do. One of the issues before lawmakers is a re-defintion of “blight.”
After months of seemingly no activity on the school bus safety task force’s recommendations that all new buses have lap-shoulder belts, legislation is being crafted to make that a requirement in Missouri. The School Bus Safety Task Force toiled all summer after a deadly school bus crash in Liberty in May that killed two people and injured 23 students. Representative Tim Flook of Liberty sat on that task force. He says, besides the lap-shoulder belts, his legislation will include a liability waiver in case they’re not used right. Flook says the state will help pay for the $5-Million to $6-Million in upgrades to new buses by charging higher traffic fines. His legislation is at the House Research Division now. He expects it will be done by the end of this week.
The invitations have gone out to the people who are to be the witnesses of the first execution of the year, but whether it will be tonight or later tomorrow or some other day is tied up in court. A federal judge in Kansas City had blocked Michael A. Taylor’s execution, originally scheduled for tonight and planned a hearing on February 21st. During the weekend a panel of the Federal Appeals Court in St. Louis lifted that stay and ordered a hearing by a different federal judge. A ruling has to be issued by noon tomorrow. The new judge started hearing testimony yesterday. More is to be given today. The appeals court has stayed the execution until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, but could vacate that stay before then, depending on what the new judge says. Taylor claims drugs used in lethal injections create a risk of undue suffering and do not necessarily cause death. He was convicted of kidnapping and killing a 15-year old girl in Kansas city almost 17 years ago.